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Book 10 Notes from The Aeneid

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The Aeneid Book 10

While this happens, Jupiter calls a council of the gods. He asks why the Italians and the Trojans are fighting against each other against his will. He promises that there will be plenty of war when Rome and Carthage fight later. Venus says that the Rutulians led by Turnus are massacring Trojans and that Greek armies are going to march out and help them. The Trojans have done everything they were supposed to but Juno sent Allecto out to cause trouble. She begs that Ascanius be spared if Troy is to be destroyed again. Juno bursts in and calls the Trojans thieves, saying that they never ask for peace and alleges that they started the conflict to begin with. Juno pleads that the war cannot be ended. Jupiter speaks and says that he will help neither the Rutulians nor the Trojans:

"'What each man does will shape his trial and fortune.
For Jupiter is king of all alike;
the Ffates will find their way.'"
Book 10, lines 160-62

All of the gods are to stay out of the battle and let it run its course. The Trojans and Latins continue to struggle. The Trojans strain to hold their halls and Ascanius helps. Mnestheus hurls his weapons down. At this point , Aeneas has made the camp of the Tuscans and convinced them to follow him against Mezentius. He sails downriver followed by the chiefs of the Tuscans with about thirty ships of men. It is night as Aeneas sails and one of the nymphs who was once one of his ships grabs the stern and lifts herself up. She tells him to hasten because the Trojans are in dire straits. Aeneas prays to the earth and promises offerings. Day begins as the ships near the camp. They rain arrows from the ships. The attackers stare at Aeneas looking noble and godlike in his armor.

Turnus does not despair, but he rallies his men and tells them to cut the Trojans down as they step on land. They begin to jump from the ships, but King Tarchon has his men run the ships right on to land. His ship gets stuck, but the Tuscans begin to pour onto the field. Aeneas jumps down and immediately begins to slay Latins. Aeneas loses his spear but is rearmed by Achates. He continues to kill brothers and relatives. Clausus begins to fight back with the rest of the Latins. At another part of the battle. Pallas rallies the Arcadians. He cuts down many and his men are excited. Another Rutulian begins his own killing spree, but Pallas prays to the gods that he may slay the man and he does. Lausus the son of Mezentius, is threatened by the battle and Turnus tells him to leave so that he may face Pallas alone. Turnus begins to hunt him like a lion after a bull. When Pallas sees this, he prays to Hercules that he will not die in vain. Hercules hears him but is unable to do anything and Jupiter comforts him. Pallas hurls at Turnus and misses. Turnus hurls and kills him. He announces the death of Pallas to the Arcadians as he rips off the prince's belt covered with the scene of the slaughter of fifty bridegrooms. A messenger brings Aeneas word of this deed and he cuts through the battle towards the Arcadians. One man pleads for his life, but Aeneas kills him as well as a priest.

He curses more men as he cuts them down. Many flee his path. two brothers are driving a chariot up and down the field. They taunt Aeneas, but he kills one of them with a javelin. He seizes the chariot and kills the other even though he asks for mercy.

Meanwhile, Jupiter speaks to Juno:

"'Both wife and sister to me, and much loved,
as you supposed (your judgment is not wrong),
the power of Troy has been sustained by Venus,
not by the fighting men's keen hands in battle,
not by their stubborn souls, patient in trials...'"
Book 10, lines 834-38

Juno admits that she is afraid of his wrath but asks that Turnus be spared. He tells her that she may arrange this and she goes to the field cloaked in a cloud and then disguised as Aeneas. Turnus runs after her and she leads him to a ship which she sends sailing off. Aeneas rushes around the field looking for Turnus. When Turnus realizes where he is, he pleads with the gods that they return him because he feels shameful for committing desertion. He tries to stab himself and throw himself in the river but Juno won't let him.

Mezentius takes the lead of the Rutulians and he rallies his men after he kills one of the Trojans who curses him. The battle continues with each side losing men equally. Mezentius rushes and fights nobly. Aeneas hastens to meet him. Mezentius misses the Trojan leader only to be hit in the thigh by him. He limps off the field. His son, Lausus, rushes Aeneas and misses him. Aeneas gets surrounded by Lausus' companions but he taunts them anyway. He overcomes them and kills Lausus but regrets it.

Mezentius washes by the river and laments when his son's body is carried to him. He rearms and wishes to take Aeneas' life. He mounts his horse and calls a challenge to Aeneas. Aeneas accepts the challenge and waits as Mezentius rides around him multiple times. He flings his spear and kills the horse. He rushes forward and taunts Mezentius. Mezentius replies:

"'why do you taunt and threaten me? There is
no crime in killing me; I did not come
to war with any thought of quarter, nor
did Lausus ever draw such terms with you.
I ask you only this: if any grace
is given to the vanquished, let my body
be laid in earth'"
Book 10, lines 1236-42

Aeneas kills Mezentius.

Topic Tracking: Omens 10
Topic Tracking: Divine Intervention 9

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